Energy bodies meet on affordability

ENERGY retailers will face tough questions from consumer and social service advocates at a meeting to discuss the rising cost of power in NSW.

Representatives from organisations including the Australian Energy Ombudsman, Energy Retailers Association of Australia and Australian Council of Social Service are holding talks at state parliament on Monday.

Energy efficiency, education, metering and government assistance are all up for discussion.

NSW Energy Minister Chris Hartcher, who opened the roundtable meeting on Monday, told AAP electricity affordability was a broad issue.

“NSW customers have been hit by price rises harder than anyone else,” he said.

“But rising electricity prices are an issue for everyone – the broader community, energy retailers and distributors, state and federal governments, the community sector, energy ombudsmen and energy regulators.”

Ideas from the long-awaited roundtable will be taken to the Council of Australian Governments’ Standing Council on Energy and Resources in May, Mr Hartcher said.

On Sunday, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) released research showing the “working poor” in NSW were now just as likely to have their electricity, gas or water cut off as pensioners and the unemployed.

It said 44 per cent of NSW householders who were cut off from utilities last year were working.

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